Top 5 Gotchas for Monitoring Applications in the Cloud

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If you haven’t already, many IT organizations are migrating some of their applications to the cloud to become more agile, alleviate operational complexity and spend less time managing infrastructure and servers. The next question you may ask yourself is, “How will we monitor these applications and where should we even begin with so many monitoring tools on the market?”

I’m glad you asked. Here is a list of gotchas you should look out for. If you have your own list, feel free to comment below and share with us.

1. Lack of End User or Business Context – With apps running in the cloud, monitoring infrastructure metrics indicates very little about your end-user experience,or the performance of your apps or business running in the cloud. End users experience business transactions so make sure your monitoring gives you this visibility.

2. Node Churn – How well does your application monitoring solution deal with node churn – the provisioning and de-provisioning of servers and application nodes? The monitoring solution has to work in dynamic, virtual and elastic environment where change is constant, otherwise you’ll end up with blind spots in your application and monitoring. Many of the current monitoring solutions today are unable to monitor and adapt to dynamic cloud infrastructure changes, requiring manual intervention by operations so new nodes can be registered and monitored.

3. Agent-less is Tough in the Cloud – You may not have any major issues with installing a packet sniffer or network-monitoring appliance in your own private cloud or data-center, but you won’t be able to place these kinds of devices in PaaS or IaaS environments to monitor your application performance. Monitoring agents in comparison can easily be embedded or piggy-backed as part of an application deployment in the cloud. Agent-less may not be a option when trying to monitor many cloud applications.

4. High Network Bandwidth Costs – Cloud providers typically charge per gigabyte of inbound and outbound traffic. If your cloud application has 100 nodes and your collecting megabytes of performance data every minute, all of that data has to be communicated outside of the cloud to your monitoring solution’s management server, which can be on-premise or in another cloud. Monitoring what’s relevant in your application versus monitoring everything means you’ll avoid exorbitant cloud usage bandwidth costs for transferring monitoring data.

5. Inflexible Licensing – If you want to monitor specific nodes, will your application monitoring vendor lock each license down to a physical server, hostname or IP, OR can your licenses float to monitor any server/node? This can be a severe limitation as now your agents are locked down to a specific node indefinitely. Even if you weren’t monitoring your applications running in the cloud, it’s still a nuisance to have a monitoring agent handcuffed to a physical server without being given the licensing flexibility to move agents around to monitor different server or nodes. As stated above, with node churn occurring frequently in cloud environments, you need a monitoring solution to be as flexible as possible so you can deploy agents anywhere, at anytime.

The good news is, monitoring application performance in the cloud is hardly a new concept for AppDynamics as we address all of these requirements with flying colors. If you’re interested in a robust application monitoring solution in the cloud, you can take a free 30-day trial of AppDynamics Pro.